Testimony about Reginald ‘Riddle’ Tucker (c1723-1775). Source: booklet produced at his trial, 1775. He was hung at Wells 28 August 1775, three days after his trial and two months after the murder of his wife.
The full details. Whit Thursday 8 June 1775. Miriam Tucker had promised to dine with Old Mrs Pounsett of Cole. She left as the clock was striking eleven. Her mother tried to call her back to eat a bit of bread and butter. The Tuckers were in the kitchen, waiting for their early meal of Roast Pork - Martha planned to take tea with Melliar Perry at Ansford Inn, and Tucker to help shear at Farmer Coxes, Hatspen. (The murder then took place.) Tucker stated he left home for Perrys at noon. It's said he washed his shirt at Nine Wells. He walked the mile to Hatspen, arriving hot, sweating and wet "You look as if you had done work for four or five men" said Mrs Elizabeth Perry. Tucker said to Perry he had just dined on damned stinking pork, and hoped not to do so again. One witness (Hodson) said that Tucker had asked him a few days before, "What is the reason for the love a man had for a woman falling off and dwindling away?" Melliar Perry's appointment for tea not having been kept, she left the Inn about one o'clock to look for Martha. Mrs Troakes lived opposite Tucker's, by the church, and saw the gardener Cary call at noon, and later Melliar Perry call at the door in the afternoon. Tucker himself later knocked on the door and shouted across to Troakes if she had seen Martha, she hadn't. Tucker disappeared to Sobieski's to look. He gained entrance to the house at the window and uttered "Lord have mercy on us", calling to Mrs Troakes. Cary the gardener could not get in at noon. He saw Mrs Troakes and her daughter sitting in the churchyard that warm day. He had some cucumber plants which he left for the family. The Coroner began his inquiries at Ansford Inn on the Saturday. Tucker’s coat was presented. Tucker cried out when this was produced in court. The waistcoat had been recently washed, it was full of creases and damp. He could not be certain the blood was not bullocks' or horses'. Galpin pointed out that although there were only traces of blood on the coat, much could have been removed if washed immediately in cold water, as he offered to demonstrate. Goodson found a 14lb sledgehammer with a yard handle. Mrs Gore who did cleaning for the Tuckers told the court the tubwater by the backdoor was discoloured (red) and she thought it too filthy to clean with. Tucker exclaimed to Mr Perry of Hatspen: "I am ruined. I am ruined. I shall be hanged. I shall be hanged. If I die, I hope you will be guardian to my daughter, Mr Perry." Thomas Speed said that he had helped Tucker make cider a whole day, and Mrs Tucker had failed to prepare a meal and Tucker had hit her with his fist. Tucker often wore two shirts in one day that hot summer, and had to stay in bed while his family washed and dried them.
Source: booklet produced at his trial, 1775.